WHAT IS OAK WILT
Oak wilt is an infectious, devastating disease that attacks our live oaks and red oaks (you may know them as Spanish Oak or Texas Red Oak). Instead of getting overly technical, I’m going to keep it simple. Oak wilt is caused by a fungus. It blocks the trees vascular system disabling it from moving water and nutrients throughout the tree. Since the tree can not move water or nutrients it starves and begins to wilt, then dies…hence the name oak wilt. For more detailed information on oak wilt visit www.texasoakwilt.org
IDENTIFICATION OF OAK WILT
Oak wilt is fairly easy to identify in our live oaks. If you look on the ground beneath an infected tree you find leaves that have venial necrosis (tiger striping along the veins) present.
PREVENTION OF OAK WILT
First and foremost is PREVENTION…taking the correct precautions can save you money and your trees. I believe Mr Benjamin Franklin coined it best “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. What do I mean by PREVENTION? Below is a quick list of tips on helping prevent oak wilt.
- Hire an ISA Certified Arborist to properly prune your trees.
- Avoid wounding oaks from Presidents’ Day thru Flag Day (mid-February to mid-June) if at all possible…in some cases it is better to prune now than wait, no matter the timing.
- Seal ALL wounds on oaks (accidental wounds and pruning wounds).
- Sterilize equipment with bleach solution or Lysol between trees.
TREATMENT OF OAK WILT
Okay I know what oak wilt is, I can identify it, so now what are my options? I’ve heard about injecting my trees and trenching around them. What is involved? How much does it cost? What are my guarantees?
Unfortunately, there is NO cure for oak wilt. Our options are to prevent and suppress. We already talked about prevention, so let’s talk about oak wilt suppression. The most common form of suppression is injections (click on injections for more detailed information). It does not stop oak wilt from spreading, but keeps it from colonizing in the trunk of the tree. The oak wilt fungus will continue to move through the root system to the next tree.
We use macro-infusion for our injection process. High value trees within 100 feet of an infected tree should be injected. It is a labor intensive process and can range from 9-15 dollars per diameter inch. There are no guarantees it will work, but it is one tool that has had success and it can increase your trees chances for survival. Keep in mind that if you do not inject a tree located in an area with high disease pressure, it will most likely die.
The next tool we have for suppression is trenching (click on trenching for more detailed information). Trenching is most often used in rural areas. Although, there have been several successful urban trenches installed. Often times in municipal settings we do not have enough safe distance from a infected tree to install a trench. The rule of thumb for trench placement is 100 feet from the nearest infected tree. Trenching isolates the infected trees from the healthy trees by disrupting root to root transfer of the disease.
We are here to help! Please Contact us today…we can help you development a treatment plan that meets your objectives and does not break the bank.